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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 These fans are wearing jerseys that were worn in the Wild's win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
The answer to your question is this: I don’t have an excuse. I just knew.

Your question was: Where was the Best Wild Week Ever last week? No, trust me. That was your question.

It wasn’t because the Wild failed to win a game the previous week. It had nothing to do with the Wild missing out on a chance to overtake Vancouver for the Northwest Division crown. I can’t say the Wild and Swarm getting swept out of Sweep Colorado Day was the overriding reason. And, it had very little to do with the fact that I was played for a fool on April 1st for the 27th consecutive year.

I just knew that the final week of the regular season, April 2 through April 8, would in fact be the Best Wild Week Ever. So why bother wasting time on a lesser week at the end of March?

I mean, when the Wild wins three games, outscores opponents 11-1, welcomes its 5,000,000th fan, boasts two more players enter the 20-goal club, ends the regular season with a playoff berth and celebrates my birthday as well as Bert Blyleven’s, you can be blindfolded and earmuffed and you’re still going to know that you’re surrounded by the Best Wild Week Ever.

There’s no escaping it, so don’t even try. Just take a stroll down memory lane and ready yourself for the postseason with the final Best Wild Week Ever of the regular season.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Before we tune up for the postseason, let’s start the week by acknowledging a fantastic community effort to warm your hearts from the unseasonably cold weather. This winter, Wendy’s Restaurants launched the Minnesota Wild Bacon Cheeseburger (complete with delicious chipotle sauce), and donated $.25 from every burger sold to Minnesota Hockey.

 Minnesota Hockey's Mark Jorgensen (far right) is all smiles whenever he gets to hold an oversized check.
Either you Minnesotans were really hungry, or you really care about youth hockey players in the state. Either way, your support landed Minnesota Hockey one of those over-sized checks redeemable for $17,000.

Give yourself a pat on the back burger lovers! Your hunger wasn’t the only thing satisfied with your purchases of delicious burgers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Now we can talk about some game action. It’d be a waste of time to hammer away at the sorry state of the Edmonton Oilers, so I think we should instead focus on the positives regarding the Wild. Plus, the Oilers and Wild played again on Thursday so we can make fun of them later in the column if we so choose.

The Wild scored a goal in each period, and Mikko Koivu, who became the fourth Wild player this season to reach the 20-goal plateau, started the scoring. His personal achievement was followed by a second period marker from Kurtis Foster and a third period tally by Branko Radivojevic. Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots for a shutout, and the Oilers crawled back to the St. Paul hotel after a sound beating on the scoreboard (3-0) and in the undercards (Radivojevic and Derek Boogaard took down Patrick Thoresen and Zach Stortini in separate bouts).

The highlight of the night was provided by the kid in the second intermission skills competition who replicated Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s Spin-O-Rama goal and punctuated it with a sweet fist pump.

Click here to watch the video (it's near the end).

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

On Wednesday, the Wild recalled Shawn Belle and Matt Foy from the Houston Aeros to join the Wild’s “taxi squad.” Belle and Foy are now available to the Wild should anyone suffer an injury.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Before the Wild’s second consecutive 3-0 shutout of the Edmonton Oilers, the Minnesota Wild welcomed

 Congratulations RyAnn Knoll. Your prize for being the 5,000,000th fan is to be greeted by this guy.
its 5,000,000th fan through the doors of the Xcel Energy Center. Now, we don’t have hard evidence that all 5,000,000 fans were different people. It is possible that one or two people may have attended more than one Wild game and been counted twice. But, we know that RyAnn Knoll picked the right night so see her first Wild game on Thursday. The Sparta, Wisconsin native was confronted by television analyst Mike Greenlay (Click here to see the interview) upon her entrance and given a slew of prizes including playoff tickets, concert tickets, a jersey and a team-autographed stick. Plus, she kicked off the Wild game with the Let’s Play Hockey declaration.

But the biggest prize was serving as a witness to the Wild’s dismantling of the Artist Formerly Known As The Edmonton Oilers. Mark Parrish crept within a goal of the magic number 20, and Keith Carney scored the best goal I’ve ever seen in my entire life later in the opening stanza. Marian Gaborik notched his 30th of the season in just his 47th game of the season.

At this pace, all of the previous Best Wild Weeks are starting to get embarrassed.
Friday, April 6, 2007

The day before playoff tickets went on sale to the general public, Wild fans already began to camp out to get their hands on postseason ducats. Troy Delmonico of Eagan and his wife, Carrie, took turns platooning in the first position all night long.

My question is the same as yours. Where is regular season ticket buyer Pat Vos in all of this? Is he slipping?
Saturday, April 7, 2007

Where do we even begin as we cover Saturday, April 7? Well, let’s start in the morning when the rush for playoff tickets began at 10:00 AM. As soon as folks had their tickets, they rushed to the nearest sports bar with the NHL Center Ice Package, hopeful of watching the San Jose Sharks defeat the Vancouver Canucks to give the Wild a chance to capture that Northwest Division title.

It was not to be. The Canucks beat the Sharks in overtime, and that sealed the Wild’s first round playoff opponent – the Anaheim Ducks.

There was no time to worry about Division shortcomings. Saturday was Fan Appreciation Night and the treats went far beyond a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Every Wild fan received a set of four commemorative cups as they exited the game and talked about Wyatt Smith’s first two goals at the Xcel Energy Center.

Fans also had the chance to win some sweaty sweaters as the Wild players shrugged off the catcalls and removed their game-worn jerseys to give to fans on the ice at the end of the game. And, let’s not forget about how cute these kids were.

Can you believe all of this goodness in six days and we still haven’t even gotten to Easter Sunday yet?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Easter Bunny was up to his usual shenanigans on Sunday, misleading our young children by hiding their candy and not just giving it to him. Then, after everybody and their cousin were sure that the Wild would begin the season on Thursday, Bunny delivered the playoff schedule that has the Wild and Ducks opening up on Wednesday.

The Wild and Ducks will play every other day until someone yells out “Mercy!” If that team is the Ducks, even a week as great as this one may have to succumb to a new Best Wild Week Ever. But, don’t you try and tell that to the person…

…Who Had The Best Wild Week Ever?

 Niklas Backstrom finished first in the BWWE voting. Lindsey Goff, who won his jersey, placed fourth.
Niklas Backstrom. RyAnn Knoll made a valiant effort, as did Minnesota Hockey director Mark Jorgensen, who, after donations from Wendy’s and the Four Winns boat raffle, is swimming in Minnesota Hockey donation money like Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales.

But neither Knoll nor Jorgs can touch Backstrom, who earned two shutouts and allowed one measly goal in three games last week. Backstrom has turned into a local celebrity after finishing the season with the NHL’s best goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.929). Yet, nothing has gone to the modest man’s head except for the knowledge that he was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week, and he just enjoyed the Best Wild Week Ever.




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